Baby Back Ribs with Bourbon BBQ Sauce

smoky baby back ribs slathered in a bourbon bbq sauce and served with pickle radicchio slaw

serves: 6

  • Author: Kayla Howey



Baby Back Ribs

  • 3 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp dry mustard
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 56 slabs baby back pork ribs

Bourbon BBQ Sauce

  • 1 ½ cups ketchup
  • 2 tbsp bourbon
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • ½ cup pork drippings (from the ribs)

Radicchio Slaw

  • 2 heads radicchio, cored and thinly sliced
  • ¾ cup mayo
  • ¼ cup pickling liquid
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp salt, or more if needed
  • 1 cup thinly sliced pickles


Baby Back Ribs

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Combine the salt, garlic powder, dry mustard, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper. Mix well and set aside.

2. For each slab of ribs, lay out a double layer of aluminum foil. Place each slab of ribs in the center of the foil.

3. Generously rub the ribs with the spice blend, pressing the spices into the meat. You want a full, even coating on each slab.

4. Fold the foil over the ribs from one end, tuck in the sides, and wrap the ribs like a burrito. Place each slab onto a sheet pan. Slowly roast the ribs for 2 hours.

5. Remove the ribs from the oven and let cool slightly while wrapped in the foil. Open the foil and carefully pour out a half cup of the pork drippings into a small bowl. Allow the ribs to cool completely.

6. Heat the grill over high heat. Place the cooled ribs directly on the hot grill. Let cook for 5 minutes to heat back through.

7. Use a brush to slather the ribs with a generous amount of bourbon bbq sauce (below). Continue to cook for about 8 minutes. Brush on more bbq sauce, and let the ribs cook until the sauce sticks to them and creates a nice crust.

8. Transfer the ribs to a cutting board. Cut the ribs along each bone.

Bourbon BBQ Sauce

1. Combine the ketchup, bourbon, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, molasses, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, smashed garlic cloves, and reserved pork drippings in a small saucepan.

2. Heat the mixture over medium heat until bubbling.

3. Lower the heat and gently simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring often.

4. Use some of the sauce to coat the ribs on the grill. Reserve the rest to serve alongside the ribs.

Radicchio Slaw

1. Place the thinly sliced radicchio in a bowl. Cover with cold water and let soak for about 20 minutes (this removes some of the bitterness).

2. In another bowl, whisk together the mayo, pickling liquid, honey, and salt. Stir in the pickles.

3. Drain the radicchio and let it completely dry…I like using paper towels here. Add the radicchio to the mayo mixture and toss until well combined.

4. Taste the slaw and season with more salt if needed.

5. Serve alongside the ribs.